February 28, 2006

Mom Takes On Bowling Alley Over Access, Attitudes

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express (subscribe)

The battle began on Saturday, January 28, when 26-year-old Tiffani Schlender went with her friends to bowl at El Cajon's Parkway Bowl.

Her mother, Joany, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that a Parkway Bowl employee told Tiffani she couldn't join "the normal bowlers".

"Tiffani looked right at her and said, 'But I am normal,' and the (employee) looked right at her and said, 'No, honey, you're not normal,'" Joany said.

Tiffani has an intellectual disability and uses a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy. She has been bowling nearly every Saturday for 21 years -- mostly with Special Olympics. She had never been turned away until last month.

Parkway Bowl manager Bill Rossman later told a reporter that his employees are sorry Tiffani did not get to bowl that day.

In a January 31 letter from her attorney, Joany told the bowling alley she wants them to apologize directly to her daughter, to install permanent ramps that comply with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, and to provide sensitivity training for employees. She originally sought $10,000 for attorney's fees, but said she is increasing the monetary demand in part because of the lack of response.

"(Tiffani) gets the apology," she said. "I'm not the one that didn't get to bowl."

Parkway Bowl put in a temporary ramp two weeks ago.

But the ruckus may be prompting local chapters of Special Olympics, which have not wanted to "rock the boat", to reevaluate where they choose to bowl and spend their time and money.

"Concerns about access" (San Diego Union-Tribune)

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Posted on February 28, 2006